Netilat Yadayim in Preparation for Davening

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One should wash Netilat Yadayim before Tefillah.


  1. If there is no water available for one to wash Netilat Yadayim before Shacharit (and one has not yet washed since waking up) or for Netilat Yadayim before Mincha or Maariv then in a scenario where one is sure one's hands are unclean (one has either been to the bathroom or touched an unclean area) and one is travelling, the person is required to travel up to 4 mil to get to water in order to wash Netilat Yadayim, or up to 1 mil in the case of having to travel back the direction one came from in order to get water. If one is at home but has no water to wash one only has to travel up to 1 mil. [1]
  2. If there has been a significant amount of time between washing and davening and in the meantime one stopped concentrating on keeping one's hands clean, one should wash again. However, if there is no water available, one only has to rub one’s hands on something that cleans them.[2]
  3. One must wash before Mincha and before Shacharit. The same is true about Maariv and if there is a break between Mincha and Maariv or if there is a break between Shacharit and Mussaf, one is required to wash before each one.[3]

Procedure for Washing

  1. The washing should be done until the wrist. [4]
  2. The washing should be done with a Kli. [5]
  3. If one washed for Mincha and remembered to keep one’s hands clean after saying Mincha, then one need not wash again before Maariv. [6]

If One Touched a Covered Area

  1. If in the middle of davening one touched a covered area one should travel to get water unless one will miss Davening with a Minyan. [7]
  2. If one remembers during Shmoneh Esrei that one touched a covered area one should just rub one’s hands on something to clean them. [8]
  3. If one learns before davening one still needs to wash before davening unless one washed during learning with explicit intent when washing, that it should also count for the davening. [9]
  4. If one ate before davening, the washing one did for eating will not suffice or nullify the washing that is required for Tefillah and one has to wash again. [10] However, if one had explicit intent and was careful to keep one’s hands clean, one does not need to wash before Tefillah. [11]


  1. If one of the four conditions apply there’s no need to travel to get water, and it’s enough to rub one’s hands:
    1. If one will miss the time for Shema and Tefillah, [12]
    2. if one will lose money [13]
    3. if one will be unable to travel to where one needs to go to [14] or
    4. if one will miss Davening with a Minyan. [15]



  1. S”A 92:4 writes that if one does not have water for Netilat Yadayim for Shacharit one must travel 4 mil or go back 1 mil. Mishna Brurah 233:20 adds that prior to Mincha or Maariv if one knows that one’s hands are dirty because one touched an unclean area or went to the bathroom, the same rule of traveling for water applies. Mishna Brurah 92:18 writes that one who is sitting at home only has to travel up to 1 mil.
  2. Shulchan Aruch O.C. 92:5 with Mishna Brurah 92:23, 26 and S”A 233:2 with Mishna Brurah 233:20
  3. Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 69:4. Mishna Brurah 233:17 adds that this washing is without a bracha.
  4. Ishei Yisrael 8:19, Piskei Teshuvot 92:7, Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 69:4
  5. Piskei Teshuvot 92:7
  6. Mishna Brurah 233:16, Ishei Yisrael 27:23
  7. Ishei Yisrael 2:40
  8. Ishei Yisrael 2:40
  9. Rama 233:2, Mishna Brurah 233:18
  10. Mishna Brurah 233:18, See Daat Torah 92:4 who has a doubt whether Mayim Achronim can suffice for washing before Tefillah.
  11. Piskei Teshuvot 92:8
  12. S”A 92:4
  13. Ishei Yisrael 2:39
  14. Mishna Brurah 92:16
  15. Mishna Brurah 92:16